We Return Fighting: A Comparative Analysis of Three American Riot Cities between 1917-1921

Thumbnail Image
Lillegard, Theresa M.
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Lethbridge Undergraduate Research Journal
Racial violence in the United States has been well-documented by scholars but many questions remain unanswered. The rash of race riots that occurred during and immediately after WWI is a violent and destructive part of America's history. These riots demonstrate a turning point in American race relations because they were characterized by large numbers of blacks who fought their subordination collectively for the first time. Using secondary literature and primary resources, I provide a description of three WWI period riots: the East St. Louis, Illinois riot of 1917, the Chicago, Illinois riot during the Red Summer of 1919, and the Tulsa, Oklahoma riot of 1921 and I point out similarities and differences between the cities in which they occurred. I find that structural characteristics and social conditions of cities are not sufficient indicators of whether or not a riot is likely to occur.
Race riots -- United States -- History -- 20th century , United States -- Race relations , African Americans -- Social conditions -- 20th century